Meningitis in your words

Jessica Martin's story

  • Location: England
  • Categories: Meningococcal
  • Age: Young Adult 20-25
  • Relationship: Friend
  • Outcome: Bereavement
Jessica Martin

When our house mate Dauda, or as we knew him 'D', suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea, we were pretty sure it was food poisoning and we were so casual about how to handle it. He was too, he was training to be a doctor and even he was confident it could not be something as serious as meningitis.

A few hours in, we had to dress him and take him to hospital because he felt so poorly. We had phoned NHS Direct who told us to give him some paracetamol and make sure he rested, so we were unsure that taking him to hospital was the right decision.

We waited in A&E for two hours before we were seen. His condition worsened but nobody would tell us what was going on as we weren't immediate family.

"I feel like we let him down"

He was placed under an anaesthetic at 3pm. We never saw him conscious again and he died three days later from a heart attack. By the time they had realised it was meningitis it was too late, his blood wouldn't clot and the medicine wasn't effective.

I feel like we were let down ... but I feel worse because I feel like we let him down and nothing ever seems to lift this burden. I feel like we knew something was wrong and asked for help but people just passed us off as hypochondriacs or dramatic students, and worse is that nobody ever asked us about what happened. Nobody knows how they let him down, how we let him down and the injustice just compacts my grief.

The experience has changed my life and I will never be the same, I would give anything to have him back. Anything.

Jessica Martin
March 2012